BETHLEHEM, Pa. - In Allentown Central Catholic quarterback Brendan Nosovitch, Archbishop Wood was facing not only a prolific passer but also a fast and elusive runner.
In the first half of Friday night's PIAA Class AAA state semifinal, Nosovitch, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior and Division I recruit, passed for 169 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran seven times for 85 yards.
Though Wood did plenty of halftime scheming to slow down No. 5, he was just as lethal over the last 24 minutes.
Nosovitch finished with 418 yards passing, with five TD throws, and 182 on the ground, including a pair of scores, as Central Catholic notched 28 straight points in the second half and cruised to a 49-27 victory at Frank Banko Field.
Nosovitch, with 600 total yards, showed why he is being recruited by the likes of Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, and Boston College.
His passing scores covered 69, 54, 7, 64, and 64 yards. In the second half, he found the end zone on runs of 1 and 25 yards.
The District 11 champions, improving to 15-0, will take on District 3's Bishop McDevitt, a 24-21 victor Friday over District 10's Erie Cathedral Prep, for statewide glory next Friday at 5 p.m. at Hershey Park Stadium.
Wood, ousted in the semifinals for the second straight year after making a championship appearance in 2008, closed with a 13-1 record.
Nosovitch, operating mostly from the shotgun formation, hit on 17 of 28 throws. In the second half, he rushed 14 times for 123 yards.
Led by tailback Brandon Peoples and Joey Monaghan, Wood went toe to toe with Central Catholic in the first half. It was 21-21 at the break.
Peoples totaled 153 yards on 23 totes, including a 47-yard TD scamper in the first quarter. Monaghan (18 carries for 61 yards) completed 15 of 26 passes for 140 yards and three scores, and also ran for a 10-yard TD late in the second quarter to put the District 12 champions ahead, 21-14.
Central Catholic scored on its last four possessions. In the fourth quarter, Nosovitch and wideout Jalen Snyder-Scipio connected for their third score of the night. Snyder-Scipio turned a right-side screen pass into a 64-yard TD.
Wood's only second-half score came on the final play, when Monaghan and Kyle Adkins connected from 16 yards out.
Archbishop Wood 71406 - 27
Allentown Central Catholic 714721 - 49
ACC: Gulyas 69 pass from Nosovitch (DiGiacomo kick)
AW: B. Peoples 47 run (Visco kick)
AW: Thompson 8 pass from Monaghan (Visco kick)
ACC: Snyder-Scipio 54 pass from Nosovitch (DiGiacomo kick)
AW: Monaghan 10 run (Visco kick)
ACC: Snyder-Scipio 7 pass from Nosovitch (DiGiacomo kick)
ACC: Nosovitch 1 run (DiGiacomo kick)
ACC: Snyder-Scipio 64 pass from Nosovitch (DiGiacomo kick)
ACC: Nosovitch 25 run (DiGiacomo kick)
ACC: Robb 64 pass from Nosovitch (DiGiacomo kick)
AW: Adkins 16 pass from Monaghan (no attempt)